In the first list of candidates that the BJP released for the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala , there is a name that anyone familiar with the violent political landscape of Kannur would not have missed. BJP is fielding C Sadanandan Master from the Koothuparambu constituency.
Both his legs were brutally chopped off by CPI (M) members as a grim warning to those who chose to change sides. An RSS functionary based in Mattanur in Kannur district, the attack on Sadanandan Master had seen an immediate retaliation with KV Sudheesh, an SFI leader killed that very same day in front of his elderly parents.
Recollecting the gory incident
“It was a time of celebration in the family. My sister’s marriage was fixed and the engagement was to take place on February 6, 1994. I was teaching at an LP school at that time. In connection with that, I had gone to visit my uncle and was returning home on the night of January 25, 1994. It was around 8.30 pm. Just as I alighted from the bus and was beginning to walk home, a group of people overpowered me from behind and threw me face down on the road.
And in a matter of seconds, both my legs were chopped off and thrown callously to the side of the road. I remember hearing a bomb or two explode to scare the crowds away. It’s a busy market place, you see. And there I lay on the road bleeding and in a state of utter shock, with no one daring to come forward to help me. It was only when the police arrived on the scene maybe fifteen minutes later, was I whisked off to the hospital. By then I had lost consciousness.
Hearing C Sadanandan Master speak about his ordeal that cost him both his legs at the age of 30 in an almost calm, detached manner gives you an inkling about his steely grit.
‘Maash’ -as he is commonly known- responds with a chuckle when asked to delineate his progress from a dedicated RSS worker to being chosen as the BJP candidate for the notorious Koothuparambu assembly constituency in Kannur.
“I was actually surprised when they suggested my name and was initially hesitant purely due to the logistics involved in touring the entire constituency, given my physical condition. Yet when I thought about the larger good that my candidature could do for Koothuparambu –my native place- I acceded to it,” he shares.
He elaborates: “When people see me in front of them -a victim of Left atrocities- they will realise the futility of all this violence, because any developmental activity in a region will fall flat unless implemented in a peaceful atmosphere. And that is what I want to bring in.”
His entry into the RSS
“Till my plus two days, I was actively involved in the Sangh’s social activities. Later during my graduation, I too wandered into the Communist phase -something which most youth do in Kerala by default.
But even at that time, I was slowly beginning to realize that it was the RSS’ idea of cultural nationalism that was more suited to our state’s natural ethos rather than the Marxist interpretation of how society should be.
That was when I came across Malayalam poet Akkitham’s article 'Bharata Darshanangal’ in the Mathrubhumi weekly magazine. This played a pivotal role in my total shift of allegiance to the Sangh in 1984 from my leftist proclivities. So you see, it was not a sudden shift.
And this happened in spite of me coming from a leftist household. My late father Kunjiraman Nambiar -a retired teacher- was a Left symapthizer while my elder brother too was an active CPI (M) worker then...no longer”.
RSS: a misunderstood entity
“The RSS –you must understand- began functioning in Kannur in 1948. It had its first martyr by 1967 in Vadikkal Ramakrishnan in whose murder Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan too is an accused.
I don’t claim to be blind to the series of retaliatory murders indulged in both sides. But who started it? Not even for a moment do I condone any of the murders but the CPI (M) has a habit of pushing its opponents against a wall, where the only option is to give in or fight back.
It is high time the CPI (M) puts an end to this culture of political fascism in Kannur. My decision to contest was to prove that I would like to take on my political opponents through fruitful dialogue and political machinery provided in a functional democracy. The people are sick and tired of this meaningless violence. It has to end some day.”
Presently a high school teacher of social science at the government-aided Sree Durga Vilasam Higher Secondary School at Peramangalam in Thrissur since 1999, Maash is married to his college-sweetheart Vanitha Rani -also a teacher.
His only daughter Yamuna Bharati is a fourth semester BTech student as well as the ABVP joint secretary at the Thrissur Government Engineering College.
Sadanandan is also the Kerala state vice-president of the National Teachers Union, the editor of its mouthpiece –Deshiya Adhyapaka Vartha and an active member of the Bharatiya Vichara Kendram –an intellectual wing of the RSS.